Is it a sin? It, first of all, depend on what you think. A Church is a good place to collect your thought’s, but you can do so after Mass, or before, or at any time the Church is open. During Mass we should only think about Christ and why we attend Mass. We do it because we want to be close to Jesus, and honor Him. Sometimes however we have lot’s of things on our mind and it is hard to focus on what is said. God, I hope so, do understand that. But in a way it is may be a sin if you are thinking about “stuff” that is not pure and right in the eyes of God. The best answer to this you may get from a priest. My answer is a educated guess and no, it is not a sin but it is not right either. Talk to a priest, and take it from there. Reckon this did not help you much, but pray that you can focus on the Mass and for a moment leave “earthly” problems behind and outside the Church. And when Mass is over, remain in the Church and think about what you may think then. That is not a sin. God bless you.
I doubt it… A mind wanders for a few reasons… Mostly because its bored,
A mind is like a computer with all the lights and numbers buzzing around…
To focus your mind on a particular event, e.g. School work, church, a movie your not interested in… Can be hard… An interesting priest,teacher or lecturer knows how to get your attention … Best don’t worry to much about it… You just need to find your groove.
Yes Tim it is.
As the Buddhists have known for centuries, the mind wants to do anything but sit still and be focussed. Yet that small second by second discipline is the very door through which the invisible God knocks and walks to greet us.
Until we develop a habit of internal stillness in outside action (it takes many years) we begin by practicing inward stillness in outward stillness (private prayer).
I suppose communal liturgical prayer (mass) is somewhere in the middle of what I have just tried to describe. Personally I prefer private prayer to Mass (as did the ancient desert hermits who went without the sacraments for long periods) but that isn’t kosha attitude these days!
Anyway, yes as soon as you note that you have lost focus you should pull yourself back again to a focus on the presence of God in the Assembly/Eucharistic action. To deliberately say what the hell instead and purposely day-dream is insulting to God, just as it would be if you did the same when your mum was wanting to spend quality time with you. That basically is what sinning venially means.
If you don’t want to do this then be honest, don’t bother going to Church at all. There is no point if you go there to day-dream or look at the girls/boys :shrug:.
Because of our fallen nature, it is difficult to recollect ourselves. It takes practice.
A solid prayer life is a journey, and we should not fear starting that journey.
When we are aware that our mind is wandering we can just bring it back into focus…
We get distracted involuntarily, but our continuing down the path they offer is voluntary, so unless you are briefly considering a holy point brought up during Mass, you should very calmly re-direct your thoughts as soon as you notice you are distracted.
It is learning how to attend Mass well. If you are distracted all through Mass, well, that’s just because you are a beginner. If younwere learning a musical instrument, you would not expect to play beautifully after one lesson, would you? Same with Mass, prayer, etc. People need to practice-by-doing, just like learning to play a musical instrument. So go to Mass, and use each time you go to practice getting better at praying the Mass
Tim, never ever avoid going to Mass even if you are temporarily predisposed not to be a full fledged participant.
As St. Paul tells us, in our weakness there is strength, and you are facing your weakness and will find strength because of the concern over your detachment from the Mass is wrong…this is the Holy Spirit working in you.
Attending Mass will only strengthen you even more, spiritually.
To take someone’s advice to not bother going to Mass is a grave threat to your salvation!
Peace and all good!
I will pray with and for you.
If you are deliberately thinking about something else and not trying to focus on the Mass then yes, I believe that is extremely disrespectful and sinful.
However if your mind is simply wandering (for example during a typical Mass my mind wanders probably 1000 times!) then do what you can to gently “reel it back in” and focus on God! No, I do not believe this is sinful. I think it is easier to stop a freight train with your bare hands then to stop your mind from wandering. Those that can focus intensely have a great deal of self-discipline of which I am sadly lacking at this time. Hope this helps, God bless.
This morning on the way to church I hit my arm against a nail, broke the side view mirror on my car, got yelled at in the parking lot because an old man thought I was going to take his precious parking spot before Mass. So many negative things happened on the way to church that one of my daughters said we should just go home.
Did I have my mind on mass? No. Did I sin? Yes. Should I have stayed home? Heck no! Just because I had a horrible morning and wasn’t focused on Mass the way I should have been you think I should have committed a mortal sin?! That’s just what the devil would want me to do. I didn’t participate the way I should have, but I suited up and showed up.
To quote GK Chesterton, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!”